Making Kids Independent Since 1996: An Educators’ Journey
“Do you see independence in camps?” I asked our CEO and cofounder Tarun Chandna (known as TC to those he works with). He laughingly replies, “Yes, for me it’s independence from the tyranny of corporate life.”
TC keeps up with his corporate clients even now, but he works with the children too. When asked why he started camping for kids, he mentioned his young nephew who was spending more time in front of screens even 20 years ago and missing on a life changing adventure in the Great Outdoors.
TC had himself gotten a taste of this adventure for the first time in 11th grade at Chandrakhani Pass in Himachal. For those 15 days, he only remembers being happy. When he saw the opportunity in a summer adventure for kids, he decided to share his happiness with others. There has been no going back since.
Studies have resoundingly corroborated TC’s view that amongst some of the most long lasting traits that kids pick up on outdoor camps, independence and leadership are the most outstanding ones. Kids learn to be confident in being able to do tasks on their own. About 70% of surveyed parents agreed immediately and six months after too.
The Boy Who Lugged the Bucket
One of our team members who also works as Campus Chief for our camps have noted similar traits with our young campers. He frequently mentions observing a child trying to carry their hot water bucket from the outside to their bathroom stall over days.
First day, the kid forgets to take the bucket. Second day, the student breathlessly lugs away a full bucket of water and realizes that he does not need the full bucket. Third day, he figures out that he only needs to carry half a bucket, if he remembers to carry it that is. These might seem like small instances, but the learning that comes with them is immense. The kids learn to be mindful of their everyday tasks because they have no one else who will do it for them. Their inconvenience is their responsibility.
In our world where information is always handy and things become ever easier to acquire, living outdoors is capable of making our students independent human beings.
The Girl Who Got the Passport
One mother who had sent her daughter with us on a camp one day sent us a thank you note for making her daughter independent. She explains that when there was a passport mess-up at the airport, her daughter just took her mother’s passport, reassured her that they will fly to the US to check future colleges and left. Few hours later, they were flying to the US.
This passport to independence is why we do what we do.